How to Cut Steel Pipe with a Sawzall



Cutting Steel Pipe with a Sawzall

Many might have heard the word “sawzall” but doesn’t know what it is or what it is used for. Well, have you ever wondered how people cut steel pipes? Or how people complete other construction jobs? That’s exactly what sawzall is used for.

Also known as the reciprocating saw, sawzall cut through objects by letting its blade travel in a reciprocating motion, backwards and forwards.

Sawzall makes people’s lives so much easier, though they rarely get the amount of attention they should. The best thing about this tool is that they are surprisingly compact, portable and light.

Thus, how do we exactly use this sawzall to cut steel pipes? Here are some guides and frequently asked questions that you might want to know.

A Step-by-step Guide to Cut Steel Pipe With a Sawzall

1. Set the Orbital Action

The term “orbital action” is normally used to define the cutting motion of the blade of the sawzall or reciprocating saw. It basically means that the sawzall move in a circular direction, allowing you to cut faster with less effort.

Orbital action might work better on some cases, but definitely not for cutting metal or when you need precise cuts. This is because the blade has to be perpendicular to the surface when cutting precise cuts.

At the end, it all depends on the model of your sawzall. Some might work better than others.

2. Installing the Blade

The blade is the key to your sawzall functioning properly. No need to worry much though, as installing the blade in sawzall isn’t hard.

You just need to insert it behind the shoe slot that’s exist between the opening and blade at the end of the saw. Simply lift the key, and push the blade back to lock it immediately.

Remember to unplug and turn off the power of the sawzall before installing or removing the blade.

Read also: How to Cut Thick Wood with a Circular Saw

3.  Adjusting the Speed Settings

The cutting speed of the saw is equally important as the blade. Some sawzalls might only have one fixed speed but some are quite diverse that they offer range of speeds.

A rule of thumb is that the model of the sawzall might vary, but the speed measurements are always the same.

As always, make sure to cord is unplugged and power is off before doing anything. Faster speed obviously boost productivity, though it is better to start with slow speed to avoid injuries.

4. How to Cut Steel Pipe

Now that everything is finally installed properly, it is time to get into the most important point of this article.

Do double check everything in case you miss something. If not, then immediately put the shoe on the steel pipe and ensure it is firmly attached. Ensure that the blade is perpendicular to the surface of the steel pipe.

Try to start with a low speed because the force of the vibration can be quite strong. Clench into the pipe tightly while holding the sawzall in a right position.

After you’ve gotten the feel of the sawzall, that’s when you can start increasing the speed of the blade.

5. Safety Precautions

Remember to always pay attention to your safety. First, always use a form of eye-protection before operating with a sawzall.

Next, make sure your body keeps a safe distance from the blade if you don’t want to end up with a scar. At last, you’ll need a set of work gloves, particularly ones intended to withstand impacts. As for the technical stuff, always turn off the saw and unplug the cord before changing the blade or interacting with its machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sawzalls can basically cut through any metals. Aluminums, steels, copper, etc, can be cut with Sawzall. Nevertheless, some extras might be needed for your tool to perform at its best.

As strong as galvanized pipe is, Sawzall can cut through it provided with the right blade.

Technically, they are about the same. The small difference is that “Sawzall” is the trade name for Milwaukee Tools’ general purpose reciprocating saw.


After reaching the bottom of this article, hopefully you’ve learned more or less on how to operate a Sawzall. It’s not hard, all you need is a little patience and precaution. Always ensure that your tools are carefully selected. Finally, never adjust anything on your sawzall while having its cord plugged.